Weeknotes – S08E01 – Hurrah for Retreats!


Re-starting paid work for 2024 went a bit awry but lots of novel revision planning done on retreat!



It was back to work today with a new publisher client, copy editing a ‘based-on-a-true-story’ contemporary novel.

I was at my desk like a proper worker bee by 9am – and did a little bit of extra copy editing for the spiritual meditation book that had come through overnight.

My attempt to start the new contemporary novel project was interrupted by a question that was raised about how to approach the task, so I had to email the publisher to find out what they wanted me to do.

My nature philosophy client sent through the penultimate chapter and preface of his book, so I read through them and added my comments.

I also (at long last!) joined the Chartered Institute of Editors and Proofreaders, and also did a couple of submissions.

Later, I wrote a review of a game I played at New Year and also edited the latest episode of the podcast.

So, not nearly as much paid work done on the first day back as planned – but a productive day overall!



Some work came through from an old client – editing blogs about sleeping habits – so I did that first thing.

I also got a response to my query about the contemporary novel, so I formulated my plan for that. But the client said the deadline was 31 not 22 January, as I had thought – so I decided to leave off starting the project until after my return from Devon.

An interesting submission call was posted on the TL;DR Slack so I entered something for that.

Later, I finished a book and wrote my review.

On the way back from the theatre, my brain came up with some quite radical ideas for some revisions to my fifth novel, Dividing the Darkness, so I wrote some notes on my phone.



Off on writing retreat today!

I have set a hard boundary with all my clients that I won’t be working while I’m away – but I had to do some little bits of extra work (a couple more blogs and some queries about the nature philosophy book) in the morning before I set off and then just a little bit more on the train…).

I also wrote a review of the play we went to see the night before and added some notes to my in-progress outline for my seventh novel, A Wizard Calls My Name.



First full day on retreat – and a very slow start…

I woke up at 7:15am, thinking I should spring out of bed and immediately be as productive as possible. But my body decided it couldn’t possibly countenance moving and I thought – if what I really need at this moment is to lie in a darkened room for a bit longer, maybe that’s what I should do…

I eventually got out of bed, scrounged up some breakfast, motivated myself to do my exercises and then watched TV for a bit while munching carrots and cereal.

After that, I went through my email and my open browser tabs, wrote a review of the audiobook I finished on the journey the day before, then read and commented on two short pieces by a couple of TL;DR writers. I also did my financial analysis of 2023 and discovered, compared to 2002, I earned 44% more from paid editing, based on working 28% more hours, so that felt good!

That took me to nearly lunchtime – so I decided I would continue to take it slowly and perhaps embark on one of my main projects in the afternoon…

After lunch and a nice long walk, I settled in the dining room and brainstormed a new short story I wanted to write for an upcoming submission call. Then, I went through all my Darkness revision notes and collected together all the big world-building questions under four main categories – I ended up with five A4 pages of really important stuff to figure out, which felt quite demoralising…

I set a specific question for the subconscious crew to work on overnight and hoped for the best.



And the crew delivered – over and above!

The answer to the specific question I asked them came to me at 7:30am as I was contemplating getting up.

And, throughout the morning, as I noodled around with notes about that, other things started coming to me, until I’d answered about half the questions! So that was amazing!

I went for a long walk after lunch and came back knackered, so I took a bit of a rest, since I’d already done more than anticipated with my day.

I was going to declare the rest of the day a wash – but when I got back to my room after the cake break at 4pm, I read through the remaining questions for Darkness and had another burst of inspiration that knocked out most of them. Still a few niggly ones to wrestle with – but I decided that could wait until tomorrow.


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